The use of the Oxford/AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine in vulnerable people may be resulting in a lower death toll in the UK compared to Europe, according to the former chief of the country’s vaccine taskforce.
Clive Dix said the durable cellular immunity response produced by the AZ jab can potentially “last for life”.
The Oxford/AstraZeneca jab was approved last December, and vaccines were initially rolled out among the older and the most vulnerable in society.
Mr Dix told The Daily Telegraph: “If you look across Europe, with the rise in cases, there’s also a corresponding lagged rise in deaths, but not in the UK, and we have to understand that.”
He added: “I personally believe that’s because most of our vulnerable people were given the AstraZeneca vaccine.”
Mr Dix told the newspaper: “We’ve seen early data that the Oxford jab produces a very durable cellular response and if you’ve got a durable cellular immunity response then they can last for a long time.
“It can last for life in some cases.”
AstraZeneca has faced both praise and criticism during the pandemic, with its Covid jab hailed as being one of the first on the market and for its low cost in comparison to other jabs.
The rollout of the Oxford/AstraZeneca jab in the UK saw Government advisers recommending under-40s should be offered alternatives due to evidence it may be linked to very rare blood clots.
Fears over links to blood clots also saw some European countries pause their use of the jab.